I didn’t have to go to university to be successful

Making the first step towards your career can be intimidating. When I was 16 I was clueless about what I wanted to do with my life and what my options were. And, if I’m honest, the careers advice was far from helpful.

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All that seemed to be drummed in to us was that we had to complete A-Levels and then go to university to be successful.

Without knowing any other routes, who was I to question that? So, I decided to follow the crowd and signed up at my local sixth form to study three A-Levels. At the end of my studies, I had passed all of my subjects and was accepted at my top university of choice. The only problem was, I wasn’t sold on the course that I had chosen as I still wasn’t sure what career I wanted to go into.

I didn’t want to commit to three years of learning (and debt) to study a subject that I might not be for me. With a lack of any useful careers advice I decided that I would start working straight away instead, but trying to get a job without any experience proved to be very difficult!

Luckily for me, a year later I found out about apprenticeships, and my future outlook changed completely. I realised that everyone has different ways of learning, thinking and working – and one size really doesn’t fit all.

I started my apprenticeship in 2012 and studied toward a level 3 business administration qualification alongside my day job. My apprenticeship had all of the key components that I was looking for when I left school, I was able to gain all of the necessary skills that employers look for whilst still learning and earning a salary.

It built up my confidence and has given me amazing career aspirations which I didn’t have before.

Six years ago if you asked me where I would be, I would never have dreamed that I’d be leading the City & Guilds Group’s youth engagement programmes – helping young people to enter the world of work through all different opportunities. I am passionate about the different paths that people can take in to work, and truly believe that work experience can help you when you’re unsure of what your next step is.

I love my job and have both work experience and an apprenticeship to thank for allowing me the opportunity to experience a different way in to the world of world.